Who was the Beelzebub/Beelzebul that the Pharisees attributed Christ's work to?
Beelzebub was a Philistine god worshiped in the city of Ekron in the accounts of the Old Testament. The word Beelzebub is the Greek spelling of Baal-zebub meaning "lord of flies" (2 Kings 1:2). Baal was the Caananite fertility god. Zebub, Hebrew for flies, was often used as a name for Satan and referred to the sixth of the seven heavens of the Jewish mystical sect Kabbalah. It should also be noted that Beelzebul is an alternate spelling.
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Biblically, the term Beelzebub was used in the New Testament by the Pharisees and teachers of the law in slanderous attacks on Jesus. They accused Jesus, saying, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons" (Matthew 12:24).
Amazingly, the Pharisees blamed the ability of Jesus to cast out demons on Beelzebub, the one they called the prince of demons. In others words, they attributed the work of Jesus to the work of Satan.
Jesus, however, turned the question upon His accusers, asking, "if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Matthew 12:26-28).
Jesus warned His followers to expect similar slander: "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household" (Matthew 10:25). He would later expand on this teaching, saying, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19).
Both Jesus and those who follow Him will find persecution at the hands of those who oppose His message. The teachers of Jesus' time referred to His work as coming from Beelzebub, essentially claiming His work was demonic. The followers of Jesus were also often persecuted. Church history claims that all but one of the apostles died for their faith, with the one remaining member (the apostle John) sentenced to exile on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9).
The attribution of Jesus' work to Beelzebub was a serious accusation that misunderstood the person and work of the Messiah. Jewish leaders ultimately conspired with others to bring about the death of Jesus, yet His resurrection proved His power as the Messiah and His superiority to Satan.
Who is Satan?
Who was the god Baal?
Is there an unpardonable sin? What is it?
Is Jesus Christ God?
Why does God demand our worship?
Truth about Everything Else